With millions of consumers facing increasing pressure from the rising cost of living. Inflation is forecast to reach new highs in 2022 and the Bank base rate is expected to rise in response. What might have seemed affordable a year ago – such as your vehicle lease – might not be now.
Household income is also facing pressure from other types of borrowing such as personal loans, credit cards and, increasingly, ‘buy-now-pay-later’ or other forms of credit. This is alongside expected increases to utility, fuel, council tax and other bills.
More than 80% of adults reported an increase in their cost of living in March 2022. Those in the most vulnerable circumstances face the greatest risk of harm, with about 27% of the population having ‘low financial resilience’ (FCA). This is likely to increase over the coming months, evidenced in part by food bank usage increasing by 14% over pre-pandemic levels (Trussell Trust).
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) expects more consumers to display characteristics of vulnerability as these pressures are felt and expects all firms – including vehicle leasing companies – to provide their customers with appropriate support and care.
If you are concerned about the affordability of your vehicle lease, or that of somebody close to you, it is important that you:
- Talk to your leasing company as soon as possible
- Be open about your situation. There are options that they can explore with you, but only if they are fully aware of your circumstances
- Make sure those discussions take place before you miss any payments. You could be at risk of losing your vehicle if you fall behind
Your vehicle leasing company should:
- Provide you with an appropriate level of care and support
- Consider your individual circumstances and give appropriate tailored forbearance that is in your interest
- Support those showing signs of financial difficulty or struggling with debt, making them aware of – and helping them to access – money guidance or free debt advice
- Ensure that any fees and charges levied are fair and do no more than cover essential costs
- Make sure any future financial pressures and impact on expenditure are taken into account when working with any new customers
There are a number of resources available to support you if you can't afford your vehicle lease payments:
You can check if your vehicle leasing provider is a BVRLA member via the member directory.